A reflection for Racial Justice Sunday 2024 written by Jennie Taylor, Racial Justice Officer:
Exodus! Justice for God’s people on the move
Many of us will have experienced the stresses of moving house. You are trying to find the right accommodation, packing the boxes, and deciding what to keep and what to give away. You plan and prepare but somehow when you arrive at your new home there are no teaspoons for that first cup of tea!
Moving can be a very stressful experience.
Some of us will have experienced moving to a new area or even to a new country. Maybe we’ve had to learn a new language, new customs and traditions. Perhaps we’ve had to leave loved ones behind. Maybe we’ve arrived in a place for a new start with little support and no idea whether this big risk will ultimately pay off.
The Bible is full of stories of God’s people on the move. People who travel to new towns and cities, bring with them their hopes and dreams for a better future. Sometimes they are greeted with welcome and hospitality when they arrive at a new destination, and just as often they are met with hostility and reproach.
Racial Justice Sunday 2024 is about exploring the movement of people from their homelands to the places they now call home, examining the motivations behind this movement – the journeys made, and the reception or welcome received on arrival.
In this Epiphany season we celebrate the arrival of the wise travellers with gifts for the Christ child. That part of the story ends with the Holy family fleeing to Egypt after Joseph is warned in a dream. It is a journey motivated by persecution with an uncertain welcome on arrival. Many people in our churches and community will resonate with this journey as they too have fled persecution, hoping to be met with safety and compassion.
What does it mean for us the Church to seek justice for God’s people on the move?
Justice invites us to recognise that something is not right or that it is unfair, acknowledging that not everyone receives a good welcome. Some of us will have experienced first-hand and many more of us will have heard stories of arrivals to our country and more locally, arrivals to our Diocese that are not shaped by the kindness and compassion God shows to each of us.
Justice is a call for us to act. To speak up when we see injustice, to offer kindness and compassion to people on the move. To welcome others with the hospitality that the holy family received in Egypt. A welcome into a community of belonging, support and kindness.